PULLED APART BY HORSES: live, Art Bar Oxford, April 2014

Short, fast, sweaty and screamy. Four words that could mean anything (keep it to yourselves though, eh?) but here, in Oxford’s Art Bar, they mean only one thing – Pulled Apart By Horses are on stage and they’re scorchin’ it.

‘Was that you? Did you just catch him? Good one. That’s the only reason we do this, you know … to watch you lot. I mean, we really like playing but we love watching you lot.’

So sez guitarist James Brown after yet another bit of spectacular/drunken moshgymnastics takes the band’s pre-tour pledge ‘to get sweaty with you guys’ to new levels of body-slammin’ bonhomie. That’s what Pulled Apart By Horses do, see. Stoke the heat with their punk-edged multi-riff attack, flick a match and set the whole thing off. By the time V.E.N.O.M. sears the room three tracks in, it’s game over: PABH have won the night, somehow making everyone feel like they’re mates with the band. How? Is it the grounded banter? Or the jagged anthems and ferocious pace? Or the fact that the band are enjoying this every bit as much as we are, inviting the Art Bar mob to hang out and do some drinking after the gig?

It’s all of that. Pulled Apart By Horses sound viciously sharp on record but even then, you sense they can rip it up EVEN MORE when they nab a stage and have a few bodies to bounce off, and tonight proves it – they’re one of those bands you’ve just got to go and see live, simple as that. High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive is nuts, and when I Wanna Be Your Dog gets the Horses makeover ahead of a crowd-surfing ceiling-hanging finale from singer Tom Hudson, you can’t help thinking that Iggy himself would give ‘em the nod.

Riotous good fun and – most definitely – a real cool time.